Amazon, Apple, and Disney all started in their garages. Amongst a cluster of cake decorations, ovens, and hardware tools, Ivette Arosemena-Hidalgo launched Ivette’s Nutty Kitchen in her own garage after life threw her a million obstacles.
When her husband needed help with his medical practice, she was there. When her youngest son, Nico, needed help with school, she was there. When her oldest son, Andres, was diagnosed with leukemia, she was there.
“When you go through a hard thing in your life, nothing else matters,” she said. “After Andres got better I just thought, ‘I have to do something with myself’.”
Although treats were never her forte, she always loved to cook. She went to visit her family in Ecuador for her nephew’s baptism, made a few desserts, and discovered she was pretty good at baking.
In 2014, Ivette’s Nutty Kitchen was born.
“I didn’t know it was going to get to this point,” she said.
“I realized at 42 that I found my passion,” she said. “When you do something you really like, then you feel blessed.”
To pay homage to her Lebanese and Ecuadorian descent, Nico wanted the name to include nuts because of the nuts found in baklavas, the dish she first made and sold. Her friend from Panama created the logo and soon after, Ivette’s Nutty Kitchen went live.
“I was worried about what others were going to think but for me, it just worked out… it really did,” she reflected.
At first, she started out with baklavas, nutty apple cakes, and alfajores, a traditional cake from South America held together by dulce de leche. Now, her most famous desserts are her ‘naked cakes’, cakes that have little or none outer layer of frosting. Due to her increasing menu, people beyond her friends and family found out about the nutty kitchen.
“I have a client that has been booking me since her daughter was one year old,” she laughed. “Pretty soon I’ll be doing the wedding cake!”
Besides the wedding cakes, the holidays are a busy time for the business. Although her garage has since become her official bakery in December 2017, Thanksgiving tested her abilities to be fast, efficient, and still delicious. She made so many desserts with only one oven that it came to the point where she had to stop taking orders.
“I only had 30 orders the year before and thought ‘if I get to 60, I’ll be happy’” she said. “Reaching 60 made me realize I needed more space.”
Her goal this year is to reach 100 orders with her additional oven and counter space in the garage. With the increasing demand for her baked goods, one day she’ll open a bakery but for now, her family is her priority and her garage is her safe haven.
While she continues to bake amongst hammers and tools, all she can say is, “please ignore the ladder in the garage.”